Tag Archives: creativity

The Old Trunk Or Creative Jewel?


Here is a fun spot in Hood River, Oregon. Make sure to take your camera to search for all kinds of treasures. Bring money for the ice cream!

by Kimberly A. Cook

Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. One of my favorite ways to get the imagination train moving is shopping antique stores and flea marts. Not only is it a photographer’s paradise, it is so much fun finding treasures hiding in plain sight.


The vinyl mother lode! Actually, I have a cabinet full of vinyl myself, so feels like home. Notice the vintage radios and album carrying cases on top. I have one of those too.

Last week on our road trip we stopped at The Old Trunk in Hood River. This killer combo of antiques and soda fountain, plus fruit later in the year is a fun jaunt. I’ll admit we were lured in by the promise of huckleberry ice cream on their website; I’d go just about anywhere for huckleberries. Ice cream too.


These are cameras before the one in your phone.  Upper left? No batteries, ran on person power.  Viewfinder in the middle with the round disks? Video games for Boomers. Bottom left, Polaroid camera only known to the young people now due to Taylor Swift. Round canisters in the middle? Real film! No digits! Vintage rules.

With the trusty camera along, my creativity gets inspired and things jog my memory or I marvel at items combined in a different way. Of course, seeing all books a buck about sent me into a buying spree. I controlled myself; my bookshelves are overflowing.


Soda fountain! That red contraption in the middle is the soft serve ice cream machine. They mix Tillamook vanilla ice cream with fresh huckleberries, or other berries, and heaven happens.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy ice cream! One of the owners described the crowds they are seeing now and how crazy it will get as the season gets warmer. We lucked in between the crowds late in the day at 4 p.m. for a high ice cream, instead of high tea.


Soft serve huckleberry ice cream. Fabuwonderfulfantabulous! Trust me.

Simple pleasures, good friends, good weather and ice cream. Living the dream!

Whether you wander on purpose or journey to a destination, take your camera along and prepare to experience some whimsy.

Exercise your creativity muscles!




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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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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 Capture The Sun Rays Of Fall?

by Kimberly A. Cook          (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

When I took a three-month camping trip to Europe in 1983, I carried 70 rolls of film with me. Some of my best shots were sticking the camera out the window and just shooting. Shit shots, I called them. Nothing to lose!

The rolling clouds, the Washington gorge hills, the bridge and the Columbia River; without ever leaving my car!

The rolling clouds, the Washington gorge hills, the bridge and the Columbia River; without ever leaving my car!

On our recent adventure to Hood River we went to one of the Columbia River parks for a look-see before heading home. It had started to rain and the wind was whipping up in the gorge, so I did my usual and took a few pictures from the car window. Just like in Europe. (Yes, I rolled the window down.)

Sometimes the most important thing as a photographer is to just take the shot. I had some cars coming toward me and I was about to hold up someone driving behind me, so I grabbed the shot. I’m pretty happy with it.

One of the reasons I always carry one of my little Canon Elph cameras with me is I never know when I might see a photo I need to take. Kind of like the Boy Scouts, always prepared. Which includes a fully charged backup battery too.

With the leaves starting to change colors and the pumpkin decorations everywhere, this is a great time of year to capture the golden light in the morning and evening. You don’t need a ton of equipment or to even get out of your car; be lazy and creative. You might be able to use the photo for a blog post.

Whether taking pictures on the road, in your own backyard or trying to capture your pet’s latest antics, for us photo freaks it’s always a good day to take a picture. The weather folks say the rains are coming in this week. Yeah! Cloud and rain pictures! Woo Hoo!

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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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Can We All Downsize In Place?

by Kimberly A. Cook               (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

I’m reading a book about getting organized titled, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Kondo. She has two rules of getting organized and the first one is the hardest; discard what doesn’t give you joy. This includes sorting everything in your entire house.

Goldmine! Not that I need these, but I had to bring a few home! For decorating. Really!

Goldmine! Not that I need these, but I had to bring a few home! For decorating. Really!

It sounds simple, but she recommends a six-month process to make this happen. I think I’ve been trying to do this for sixteen years myself. Truly, I have a collection of decluttering books! Case in point.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is realizing our lives and activities have changed but we hang onto the clothes or sports equipment or artwork from the past.

Another favorite organizing book had some powerful advice; “storage is sorrow.” Whether past triumphs or tragedies or both, if we don’t love the items or display them as keepsakes, storage is not honoring the role of those items now, so set them free!

Easier said than done. Lately I’ve been shopping my clothes closet. While pretty organized, I have more stuff than I can remember. Found some shoes I’d forgotten about which are just the right sandals for this summer. Breaking in one pair of them today.

I’ve also been watching a lot of style tv shows, a favorite is “Love, Lust or Run” with Stacy London and “Dare to Wear” on TLC. Think I must be craving a change in fashion. Part of it comes from getting used to my thinner bod and wearing clothes that actually fit. New experience.

So today I boxed up some clothes to donate that I truly loved but am not willing to pay the cost of tailoring. I’m going to set them free so someone else can enjoy them and I have a cleaner closet. Now, I have drawn some lines so far; beads, yarn and books. Yes, I will sort them, but I’m not going to be brutal about it. Luckily they don’t take up much space. Okay, if I’m truthful I’m not going to get rid of beads – period. But the books and yarn are smaller than a bass boat! I think.

Of course, my fun trips to my favorite antique mall are not stopping either, but I’m trying to be very careful what I bring home. Last visit I came across a basket of 45 RPM records and sorted through. Pounced on one by Elvis and several made in Hawaii with the label in a red and white floral print. Plan on using them as wall decorations in the Maui/Elvis in Hawaii bathroom. Now if I can just find where I put them …..

P.S. For those of you keeping track, I finally switched out my cable tv modem this past weekend. With cussing and lots of chocolate, I made it work. Then I downgraded my tv package, kept football of course, and they sent me a new DVR to switch out. Sigh. Now I have to actually watch the shows on my old DVR. Stop the insanity!


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Beads, Bling, Coloring And Shell Casings?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Creativity is everywhere. Opening our eyes and senses is the first requirement to seeing it. Spent a quick visit Saturday at the Gem Faire, one of my favorite things to do. The show only comes twice a year so I can’t do too much damage to my wallet.

I hadn’t been for quite a while so the thrill of exploring energized me. Due to a competing appointment I had 70 minutes to power shop through the show. Did it! Got some pretties I couldn’t live without and saw some items which made my muse happy and curious.

Sounds like a Ginsu knife commercial - but wait there's more! Shell casing earrings and pendants!

Sounds like a Ginsu knife commercial – but wait there’s more! Shell casing earrings and pendants!

Take the shell casing pendants and earrings. Now, I have some leftover shell casings from my Dad’s workshop I’ve kept for a future project like a draft pick; not sure what they will become or accomplish but I’ve got the stuff. Had to take a picture and share with you this creative use of ammo.

Now, I might shine the casings with Brasso, although I thought I got enough of Brasso in the Army, but shiny is in my blood after basic training. Then I might add crystals, sparkly bling, a pink quartz rock and flashier earring findings and that is how I end up with tons of “project stuff.”

Recently a new Ace Hardware opened up in my area and I was beside myself exploring the aisles and all the fun new toys, er tools. They even had a “Hobby” aisle! Can you say more accessories for my Dremel? Yes, I bought the 80-piece accessory pack when I got my Dremel but I’m sure Ace must have more by now.

Then last Sunday the “Parade” magazine had a great article about coloring for adults. While I admit I buy Disney color books and have a fabulous supply of colored pens, Crayons and pencils to use, now there are big kid coloring books! They even have a couple of pages you can download free from the article.

Here is the link to get to the article and the free coloring pages.


Life is good! New beads, new bling, recycling shell casings and getting to color? It must be summer!


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