Saturday, April 27, 2013

because different is good

My friend Trish posted an interesting quote on Facebook this week. It said, "The easiest way to be creative: try something different, even if you don't think it will work." I took that advice a couple of times this week, and I'm glad I did!

Wednesday, April 24th was the Scoop-A-Thon at the Gelato Fiasco to benefit the Brunswick Teen Center. As I mentioned in my most recent blog post, I was asked to do face painting for preschoolers between 11 am and noon; I said "yes," even though I had no experience. The face paint, brushes, and various other supplies were being provided for me by People Plus (which is where the teen center is located). I was hoping to get my hands on those supplies a few days beforehand so I could sneak in a little practice time and then take some photos (so kids could get a sense of what things would look like). Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and needless to say, I was a bit nervous Wednesday morning. Shortly before I left the house, I figured I ought to sketch out a few simple designs. If I didn't have actual photos, at least I could give the kids (and myself) something to work with. I filled a piece of paper with things I thought might make good face painting options: a flower, a peace sign, a seahorse, a rainbow, a spider hanging off a web, etc. I grabbed my paper and headed over to Gelato Fiasco a few minutes before 11, hoping I wouldn't be eaten alive. Well, not only was I not eaten alive, but the hour went by very quickly, and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. No one minded that I had no previous face painting experience, and everyone was happy with the wearable art they walked out with. It was a fun time for me, and I never would have experienced it if I hadn't decided to try something totally new and different.

The other new and different experience I had this week was at home. My husband Terry's 45th birthday was on Thursday, April 25th. Anyone who knows Terry knows what a huge music fan he is. I thought it would be fun to make him a birthday cake that looked like a 45 record, complete with the yellow plastic adaptor in the middle. I wasn't sure how to make this happen, so I went over to Pinterest and did some investigating. One person suggested using a paper cutout on top of the cake, but that didn't feel right. I called my friend Tim, and thankfully he's had some cake-decorating experience. He said, "You're an artist- you can do this!" He instructed me to start from the center and work my way out: a small circle of dark frosting for where the adaptor would be, colored frosting around that for the label, then more dark frosting for the vinyl. He made it sound simple, so I decided to go for it. The next step was figuring out what I would do for a cake. Terry loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, so I knew that had to be what I would make. That being said, Terry lost almost 60 pounds a little over a year ago. He still likes sweets, but now he enjoys them in moderation. Baking him an entire cake seemed a bit cruel and not very supportive...kind of the opposite of what I was going for. It was back to Pinterest with me, and this time, I was looking for healthy cake and healthy frosting recipes. Not only was this my first time making a cake on my own completely from scratch, but it was my first attempt at making a healthy cake. Would it work? Would it taste good? Would the frosting design come out the way I was hoping it would? Well, I am very happy to say that the answer to all of those questions is the same: YES. He was completely surprised (and quite tickled) by the cake's  appearance, he loved the taste, and he was able to enjoy it guilt-free (only 100 calories per slice, not including the frosting). Once again, trying something completely new and different ended in a positive way, and I have a feeling that cake will be making another appearance before either one of us has our next birthday!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

face time

I had an interesting phone call yesterday: Sarah Brayman, who is one of the Brunswick Town Councilors, asked me if I'd be interested in doing face painting at a benefit for the Brunswick Teen Center next week. Since I have absolutely zero experience with face painting, I naturally said "yes". I figured: what the heck? Why not? It's only for an hour, it's for a good cause, it's at the Gelato Fiasco, and the kids will be preschoolers. I went on Facebook today to get some tips and advice from friends, and many of them had great suggestions ("get good quality paint," "have a lot of brushes," "bring sponges, water, baby wipes, headbands, etc.," and, of course, "practice!"). I even spent a little bit of time poking around on Pinterest, getting ideas for designs and subjects that kids might be interested in. It is amazing how much is out there and how complicated face painting can be! I'm planning on keeping things simple...I don't want to get in over my head! So, if you're a local, and you're looking to support a good cause AND throw some moral support my way, how about stopping by the Gelato Fiasco on Wednesday, April 24th, from 11 am to noon? I would love to see you there!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

let there be songs to fill the air

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from Connie Lundquist at Five Rivers Arts Alliance, asking me to be one of the music coordinators for this year's Second Friday Art Walk season in Brunswick. My job would be to book musicians to perform at two different sidewalk locations (in front of the Bank of America building, and in front of Cool As A Moose, both right on Maine Street; Peter Alexander was already booking acts for 98 Maine Street and The Gelato Fiasco). At first, I was a little nervous, but then a couple of things dawned on me: 1. This could be a nice way to get involved in making Second Friday Art Walk a little bit nicer, and 2. This could be a great opportunity to help out some of the wonderful musicians I know. I said "yes", and I am happy to say that I was able to book all three of my dear friend Erica's bands (The Intergalactic Yurt Band, Thornapple Scrub Brush, and Cumberland Crossing), as well as Terry's aunt's husband, Bruce Grover, who is a singer/songwriter.

Being one of the music coordinators has involved lots of emails and several meetings, including one on Monday night at the Brunswick Town Council Chambers. Five Rivers Arts Alliance needed a representative to show up and ask for permits in order for the musicians to perform on the sidewalk, so I was asked to attend. Connie had already sent in a letter of request, but in case there were any questions, she thought it would be good to have someone there.

I thought I might be nervous speaking at the meeting, but since I'd done it before back in January when Hati Modr and I had our paintings on display, I was a lot more relaxed as I was waiting. That's a good thing, because I did a LOT of waiting that night...two hours and forty minutes worth of waiting, to be exact. By the time I was called up to speak, my stomach was growling, everyone was exhausted (councilors and spectators alike), and the room was mostly empty. I walked up to the podium, introduced myself, said why I was there, and then exhaustion took over. I said, "Please grant our permits, because I've been here for over two and a half hours and I'm starving." Thankfully, everyone laughed, and the permits were granted. They thanked me for my tenacity, and one of the councilors mentioned what a great idea it was to have music on the street and that the art walk made the town fun. I headed home, feeling tired but positive, secure in the knowledge that the Thai lentil chili waiting for me at home in the Crock Pot was going to taste wonderful.