Category Archives: Creativity

Got Projects For The Fourth Of July?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

With the long weekend fast approaching, I love to plan projects I am going to get done with all that available time. What this means is I create a list of things to do I couldn’t complete in a month of time off, then with unrealistic high hopes if I manage to get one accomplished it’s a celebration. We all know life, laziness and must-see movies happen.


Ahoy bark booty! A cache of hidden wood gold on the shoreline. 


So one project I will fess up to do next month is to actually get creative with at least one piece of bark I’ve collected. On the May trip to Suttle Lake for bark gathering the official orange bark bucket got filled to the brim.


My Mom, bark gathering assistant extraordinaire, helped me fill the bark bucket in no time flat. Somehow the pieces seemed to get bigger as we went along. The brisk wind off the lake might have had something to do with that too. 


So then I had to dry the pieces out and buy a bigger glass container to store the bark, and before I am overrun, make something.


My fancy new-fangled bark drying apparatus; paper and banker box lids on the patio table. Check out some of those amazing specimens. Living the dream!


In addition, I need to plant the fuchsia starts my Mom gave me since they now have roots. Bought special potting soil, have baby pots to plant them in, but need to actually put them in the dirt. So the project list grows.

But for now I wanted to share some of the latest official bark gathering photos so you can think about your coming projects for the Fourth of July. Got a holiday to do list?


And this is where my special bark pieces come from girls and boys; tree logs fall into the lake, the bark gets soaked off and washes ashore and voila! Naked logs!




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Real Books Are Still Way Cool

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The planets aligned correctly last Friday and I combined a visit to my hairdresser and the 10th Annual Rose City Book and Paper Fair. Truly miraculous. Before I knew it I had wandered for three hours among the booths snapping up must have books and getting creative ideas and inspirations. These were my peeps!


Original Dr. Seuss? Can you see the number of zeros behind the $?

While I could not afford the high priced books, I could see them and be impressed. In one booth a guy practically climbed over me to get to a signed framed photo of Muhammad Ali. In another booth I noticed a first edition Ali biography bound in leather and signed by the Champ. When I learned of his passing Friday night, it touched me to have seen things he had signed. The greatest of all time.


Speaking of greats, how about this display of book authors?

The variety was astounding and I had a blast. The event is put on by the Cascade Booksellers Association and featured 55 booths. Vendors from Oregon, Washington and California displayed their goods. I scampered away with four books; a biography of Hans Christian Andersen from the $3 table, a $5 copy of Hardtack and Coffee, Women Marines; The World War II Era and U.S. Submarine Losses of World War II.



How is this for an amazing display? Makes you want to pick them up doesn’t it? Zephyr Used & Rare Books


It does my heart good to see folks preserving and cherishing these books and items produced by other artists and writers. There were even relief maps built for the World War II invasion in the Pacific, including the mapmakers memories. You never know what you might find.


Building 14 items from World War II. About $3,000.00 for the package of relief maps.

Elvis was in the building and so were cookbooks and some very cool collectibles.


Elvis is always in the building as far as I’m concerned.

I need more walls to hang art on and store books. What better past time for an adventure than to hunt for books this summer?

What’s on your book wish list?



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Can You Build A Tin Man?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last Friday I had lunch with one of my favorite people, author/editor/buddy and we met at my favorite Café in the antique shop. This place is my home away from home and I always find treasures and creative ideas which reboot my crafty creative cup. And I get to eat goodies!


Don’t you just want to hug him? A smile would be nice. He got his heart!


Prowling the aisles I came across this amazing Tin Man some talented person made out of cans. Isn’t he adorable? Someone really made this work. Complete with his heart. I had to take his picture. He was on sale, but since I own my very own ruby red slippers, I figured someone else would come along who needed the Tin Man.

That is the fun part of the creative process, you never know where ideas will come from. Who sat around and saw a soup can and thought, “That’s the Tin Man!” Then acted on it and actually built him? Even more fun to ponder is the author who created the Tin Man out of thin air! Imagination rocks.

When you’re going about your week and happen upon some interesting items, give a thought to other ways they might be used. Exercise your imagination. Who knows, you might come up with a Tin Man too!


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Got Art Projects?

by Kimberly A. Cook                        (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Perfection is overrated and a creativity killer. It’s a challenge to ignore all our inner and outer critics and go with our heart. This past sunny Friday I had an afternoon to squander cleaning. Garden or garage? My motto is to do what is bugging me the most and the garage was top on the list.


Banker box tops, bark pieces and the sun. Old school supplies. Cheap too. 


Between the monsoon rains in December and the usual crazy, the garage had become another sad victim of the drop and go syndrome. My goal was to excavate my work bench and tidy the joint. On top of the layers of stuff on the bench were banker box tops full of bark pieces I had picked up at Suttle Lake. Took the trays out on the patio and let them have a final sun shot before bringing them inside to my jewelry workbench.

When I first started gathering these bark pieces on one our trips to Sisters, I thought they might make nice pendants. I used a plastic bag in the car to collect my bark booty. Last September I used an orange Home Depot bucket, I was prepared. Another form of treasure hunting for me.


Have bark bucket, will travel. Bark booty!


Do I have enough pieces of bark now? Probably. Maybe. Do I know what I am going to do with them all? Nope. But I like them. I’ve been playing with different ideas. The first thought to be jewelry pendants is morphing into maybe little bark vignettes on tiny easels. Not sure. And that’s the best part of art projects; we don’t have to know what it will become.

I’ve also been on a glitter buying terror recently too. Combo of a half-price sale and the bark pieces. Bling bark? Whether folks color books, paint, sew, cook, sculpt, weave, woodcraft, garden or put glitter on bark, the creative process is all about not being perfect.

Because imperfect is priceless. Got art projects?


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Up For An Urban Adventure?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

While the East Coast hunkered down for snowstorm Jonas last Friday, those of us on the West Coast felt a little guilty. On my way back from grocery shopping that day I decided to take a detour and check out a park by the river. I drive by the road to the park each work day on my way to and from the day job, but I’d never taken the turn less travelled, so to speak.


A river, a boat and tranquility. Ah. 


I wound through an industrial area and continued around a few curves and then right there, a park! Motoring into the little gem, I found a nice parking lot with bleachers and restrooms, lots of grass and a boat launch. There were quite a few people out unloading fishing gear, vacant boat trailers and some people just watching the river from their vehicles.

Being close to water calms me down. Not necessarily in it, unless it’s a hot tub, but I love a bubbling brook, stream or the crash of the ocean. One of the books on my nightstand right now is “Writing Wild” by Tina Welling. It’s all about getting in touch with nature to increase your creativity.

In these days of hurry, rush, too much traffic, noise and digital everything its the perfect time to reconnect with nature and take a calm break. Now the folks back East got a little too much nature this past weekend, but some hardy souls enjoyed it if they had power and snacks.

Saw people on tv playing in the snow in Central Park and Times Square in New York and sledding down the “Rocky” steps at the art museum in Philadelphia. Definitely a one-of-a-kind urban snow adventure.

Do you have natural places close by you pass and never visit?  Do you take them for granted? Maybe it’s time to stop and smell the trees!



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Curiosity Begets Creativity?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

A couple Sundays ago I dragged, er invited my author buddy Cindy Hiday to go see author Elizabeth Gilbert talk abut her new book “Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear” on her book tour.

My reading copy on the left, I take the dust cover off. My autographed copy on the right which lives on the special signed first editions keeper shelf in my office. Very "Big Magic" indeed.

My reading copy on the left, I take the dust cover off. My autographed copy on the right which lives on the special signed first editions keeper shelf in my office. Very “Big Magic” indeed.

I was so excited to attend even on a Sunday night in downtown Portland. On our way into the theater I saw piles of books. We were each given one. Seventh heaven. I’d already bought the book and had been reading it using pink highlighter and flag tags, but this one was autographed. Yeah!

Listened to Liz read from “Big Magic” and then she answered questions from a huge stack of audience question cards. It was a fun and brilliant evening which ended with everyone singing “Country Roads” with the help of John Denver piped into the theater. Perfect.

It’s so nice to hear an accomplished author speak about creativity as a good thing which everybody has and not some burden guaranteed to drive us all nuts. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book so far.

“(because in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience).”

“You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”

“Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble.”  

‘If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”

“I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

That last one really hit me in the brain. Wow. I am a very curious person and I’m never more happy than following some research topic or article down the rabbit hole in search of something new. The act of discovery through curiosity is better than chocolate.

Plus fear sucks, so let’s all bypass it with curiosity. Liz Gilbert rocks! I am reading her book in little bits each night before bed, savoring it like a pint of Rocky Road ice cream. If you’re looking for a good book about the joy of creativity, this book is for you.

“Big Magic” is divided into six parts; Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. There are topics ranging from road trips to fairy dust. Who can argue with fairy dust? Put it on your wish list for Santa or snap it up now for yourself.

Got curiosity? You’re creative!


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Can You Command A Star Ship While Tipsy?

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

Creativity is everywhere. Spent last Friday at the Willamette Writers Conference here in Portland and had a great day. Attended several classes including one about web series and the up and comers who are using YouTube to get noticed by Hollywood. The web series faculty were all locals and it was fun for me to discover these talented folks.

Seems like the perfect time in August to let everyone see this “Star Trek” spoof they filmed while the actors were drunk; they planned it that way. While not my cup of tea, too many sugar calories in alcohol, it was a kick to watch. Even more fun were the production descriptions of how they had to measure alcohol to keep the actors from napping, then finally came up with getting each actor blotto separately.

Auditions were a challenge they said too since some folks can drink alcohol and act and others, not so much. They even have a sponsor, a local distillery. Seems like even the creative video storytelling industry is getting more complicated.

And imagine my joy when later in the day at the Visual Storytelling Panel one faculty member/film producer talked about the universal appeal of film, video and photographs reaching beyond language barriers; he mentioned the “Minions.” They really are taking over!

So in these Dog Days of August, what better way to waste some time than being entertained by a local production. Seems when some of the Star Drunk cast members went to DragonCon, this Captain Kirk was recognized from his starring YouTube role. The world is indeed getting very small!

So enjoy and remember; don’t walk drunk, don’t drive drunk and for heaven’s sake don’t pilot your space ships drunk! Let’s all be careful out there!


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