Creativity with Cindy Sue

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Oct. 14 & 15 = Knox County Scenic Drive, a celebration of Rural Heritage. Join us for the annual celebration here in Knox County, Illinois. The Knox County Scenic Drive is a self-guided car tour, allowing you to navigate your way through the small towns of Knox County, displaying the best they have to offer. You will encounter old traditions, crafts and skills at each of the stops along the way.  Each stop emphasizes a unique aspect of the rural heritage, but they are all bonded together by a fun, friendly atmosphere with plenty to see and do for the entire family. For more information visit www.knoxcountyscenicdrive.com

 

 

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Visit Southern Memories and Cottage Rose Tea Room. They are located on Old Highway 34 in Patterson, Missouri. Hours are for the shop: Wed.-Sat. 10am to 5pm and for the Tea Room: Wed.-Sat. 11am to 3pm. T Visitors may find anything from rustic farmhouse to vintage styled home decor; with antique furniture, southern relics, and specialty clothing & jewelry items.  For more information call 573-856-4131 or visit www.SouthernMemories.com
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Creativity with Cindy Sue

Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair
 
     What is etiquette? Richard Duffy’s definition, from his introduction to Emily Post’s 1922 book of proper etiquette, explains, “To the French we owe the word etiquette, and it is amusing to discover its origin in the commonplace familiar warning—Keep off the grass. It happened in the reign of Louis XIV, when the gardens of Versailles were being laid out, that the master gardener, an old Scotsman, was sorely tried because his newly seeded lawns were being continually trampled upon. To keep trespassers off, he put up warning signs or tickets —etiquettes— on which was indicated the path along which to pass. But the courtiers paid no attention to these directions and so the determined Scot complained to the King in such convincing manner that His Majesty issued an edict commanding everyone at Court to keep within the etiquettes. Gradually the term came to cover all the rules for correct demeanor and deportment in court circles; and thus through the centuries it has grown into use to describe the conventions sanctioned for the purpose of smoothing personal contacts and developing tact and good manners in social intercourse.”
      How do we learn good manners? Emily Post felt that etiquette should be taught at home and  “Just as no chain is stronger than its weakest link, no manners can be expected to stand a strain beyond their daily test at home. Those who are used to losing their temper in the bosom of their family will sooner or later lose it in public. Families which exert neither courtesy nor charm when alone, can no more deceive other people into believing that either attribute belongs to them than they could hope to make painted faces look like real complexions. A mother should exact precisely the same behavior at home and every day, that she would like her children to display in public, and she herself, if she expects them to take good manners seriously, must show the same manners to them alone that she shows to company. Any number of busy men scarcely know their children at all, and have not even stopped to realize that they seldom or never talk to them, never exert themselves to be sympathetic with them, or in the slightest degree to influence them. To growl "mornin'," or "Don't, Johnny," or "Be quiet, Alice!" is very, very far from being "an influence" on your children's morals, minds or manners.”
     To understand the value of etiquette, read the 1922 book “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at home” by Emily Post. Click in column on right.
     Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2010

 

Click here to read Emily Post's book.

   
Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair

     Will a good night’s sleep make you smarter? During waking hours the brain is absorbing new information. In order to add the freshly acquired information to the long term memory banks in the brain, the body needs to sleep.
     The first phase of the sleep cycle is a deep sleep where the brain moves the daily info from the short term memory center to the long term memory storage area. During the second phase the information is organized and filed in the virtual file cabinets. If this phase is disturbed, it will be more difficult for a person to remember what was learned during the day. The third phase of the cycle is the dreaming or Rapid Eye Movement sleep pattern where the brain reviews the stored information.
     To harness the power of the brain, the body needs an a average of eight hours of sleep. Some people function well on slightly more or less sleep, each person’s internal clock is different. Two basic strategies for a good night’s sleep are avoiding caffeine in the evening and avoiding worrying. If there is a problem bothering you, write yourself a note about what you can do about it during the next day and then put aside the fretting.
     If you are learning a new dance step, training for a new career or would like to improve your memory, remember that rest and relaxation are your best friends. One third of your life is spent sleeping so make bedtime a priority and impress your family with your brain power.    
     Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2010

   
Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair
 

     What pink substance is a toy, a stress reliever and can be used to clean a computer keyboard? It could only be Silly Putty, the classic toy with only “one moving part” that comes in a plastic egg, an icon of American pop culture.
     More than 300 million Silly Putty eggs have been sold since the product burst upon the toy scene in 1950. By 1960 it was a worldwide phenomenon and was sold in Russia and Europe.
     Known to children for its fun attributes of stretching without breaking and bouncing higher than a rubber ball, Silly Putty is also used by adults in more practical applications. Athletes use it to increase their hand strength, therapists recommend it as a stress reliever and the Apollo 8 astronauts carried it into space with them to fasten down tools during the weightless period.
     Using Silly Putty to lift images from the comics page in the newspaper was one of the most popular uses in the past. Today many newspapers use a “cold” printing process and news inks that don’t leave an impression on the Silly Putty but don’t despair. Just pick up a pencil and draw your own words or pictures on paper and Silly Putty will lift off the pencil marks. Then stretch your Silly Putty and create a funny version of your drawings.
     In 2000, Silly Putty was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Salem, Oregon. The pink “solid liquid” still comes in an egg but with a new variety of colors that include glow-in-the-dark.
     Take a trip down memory lane with Silly Putty. Reconnect with the joy of childhood and experience the fun of stress relief.
     Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2010

 

   
Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair
 
     Poems have expressed the human race’s feelings for thousands of years. The oldest love poem was written on a clay tablet circa 2000 BC. Centuries later poets still extol the virtues of love as well as lament love lost.
     Create a personalized poem for a loved one using a simple device that lets everyone become a poet in minutes.
1. Choose a subject or an individual.
2. Write 8-10 words or sentences expressing your feelings.
3. List the words or sentences. Add a title and you have created a poem.
     To the right is a poem about my dog, Joe.
 
 
     Follow the tradition of the ancient world and express your love for your family with poetry. 

     Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2010

Ode to Joe

Big.
Brown.
Furry.
Energetic.
Loving.
Happy.
Puppy.
BFF.
Joe.

   
Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair
 
     The brightly colored balls floated through the air with grace as the juggler tossed three balls, never missing a beat. Jugglers have amazed crowds with their excellent eye and hand coordination for thousands of years. One of the earliest records of juggling is a panel from an Egyptian tomb circa 1994-1781 BC.
     Wandering jugglers were common during the Middle Ages. Jugglers were hired to perform at the first modern circus which opened in 1768. Their popularity continued through the 1800s as jugglers performed between acts and during scenery changes at music and variety theaters.
     Juggling as a career waned after the popularity of vaudeville shows declined. In  the 1950s juggling became a popular hobby. Associations and clubs formed promoting juggling.
     Tom and I decided to try our hand at this time-honored entertainment. We started with the two-ball cascade, a basic juggling pattern. After only a short period of practice, Tom could toss and catch the two balls. My learning curve was a little longer and involved spending precious practice time picking the balls up off the floor. Our dogs were disappointed when the cascade was a success since they enjoyed chasing the balls as they rolled across the floor.
     Fun and laughter are synonymous with juggling which explains its continued popularity. View the Egyptian panel and watch an animation of the three-ball cascade in the next column.
    Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2009

File:3-ball cascade movie.gif

3-ball cascade

   
Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair
 
     It weighs only three pounds yet it is the control center of our body, the human brain. Studies have suggested that like physical fitness, brain fitness can help improve creativity, relaxation and boost your memory.
     How can we exercise our brain? Simple word puzzles can be used to stimulate your brain with reasoning and information processing.
     Word puzzles have been a popular pastime since the 1800s. The 1870s puzzle called a doublet consisted of taking “two words of the same length and linking them together by interposing other words, each of which shall differ from the next word by one letter only.” If the two chosen words were HEAD and TAIL, the doublet would consist of HEAD, heal, teal, tell, tall, TAIL. Simple in appearance yet the doublet engages your mind in complex decision making in each link.
     Researchers believe that the greatest benefit is engaging your mind in a new experience. Learn a new language, a dance or a game. Set aside game time in your day and try your hand at a crossword puzzle. Brain exercise can involve everything from simple pen and paper puzzles to taking a class at the local community center.
     Live fit, don’t forget the health of your brain. Get out there an exercise. Try your hand at the 1879 “Doublets, a Word Puzzle,” by Lewis Carroll, click on link in column to the right.
    Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2009

Click here to read "Doublets, a Word Puzzle."

   

Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair

 
     “Alert! Alert!” several of them shouted as others gathered in groups to discuss the intruder. The bird cacophony was directed at the uninvited guest that sat perched on the telephone pole. Ignoring the smaller birds, the hawk proceeded to survey the area from his lofty perch. 
     Living in an urban area I had only seen hawks in the distance during drives in the country. Quickly grabbing my binoculars, I zoomed in on the haughty bird. The hawk appeared oblivious to the squawking sparrows and after a few minutes gracefully glided away.
     While I had my binoculars out, I watched a butterfly drift from one bright orange flower to another. Forced to focus through the eyepiece, I notice details generally missed in a casual glance, the crisp decorative edges of the flower and the detailed pattern on the wings of the butterfly.
     In this fast paced world take time to stop and experience nature. Bird or butterfly watching is a simple and relaxing hobby. You can take along a notebook for jotting down where you walked and what birds or butterflies you watched with your binoculars.
     To identify birds or butterflies just type “how to identify birds” or “how to identify butterflies” in an Internet search engine. There is a large community of nature lovers who have created web sites to help you learn about your favorite birds or butterflies.
    Whether you sit in your backyard or stroll through a local park, listen to the conversations of the birds, follow the path of the butterfly. Learn to truly “hear” and “see” the world around you.

    Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2009

Click Play to view video.

   
   

Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair

 
     How could I resist the adorable beagle puppy wearing a stocking cap? The big brown eyes said take me home and so I did.
     The box with the beagle on the front contained a latch hook kit, a modern version of the centuries old art of making rugs with yarn and burlap. Our ancestors created floor rugs using scraps of yarn or fabric. Burlap from old grain or seed bags was a common base for the rugs. A pattern would be drawn on the burlap. Patterns ranged from simple designs to complex scenes.
     The contents of the family scrap bag were used for the rug loops. Every bit of material including old clothes was cut into to strips to use in hooking.
    In the evening when the chores were done, our ancestors would settle down in front of the fireplace to work on their floor rug. Rug hooking was a frugal art that produced beautiful home decor.
     My contemporary kit included a stamped canvas pattern, precut rug yard and instructions with the latch hook sold separately. The 12" x 12" beagle when finished will have the texture of a shag rug.
     Experience the art of our ancestors with a latch hook kit. Latch hook projects can be used to create wall hangings as well as pillows.
     Watch the video of the latch hook technique and see how my cute beagle project turned out.
    Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
© Cindy Sue Blair 2009
 

 

Watch the simple latch hook technique.

 

   

Creativity with Cindy Sue
by Cindy Sue Blair

     Clay is a magical gift to the world straight from Mother Earth. Since the beginning of time the human race has recognized the countless possibilities of clay.

     When clay is fired in a kiln, chemical reactions occur. The clay becomes a firm, ceramic material. Prehistoric cultures formed drinking vessels out of hardened clay. The first permanent writings, during the 30th century BC, were series of pictures written on soft clay tablets with a stylus. Tablets were then fired to preserve the inscriptions.

     Scientific innovations have created clays with attributes for specific applications. Oil-based clays remain malleable for long periods of time and can be used in castings or clay animation. Polymer clay will harden at low temperatures in an oven and is popular with crafters.

     Express yourself with a simple container of modeling clay dough. The craft store had a large selection of clay but my eyes were drawn to the package with six bright colors.

     Tom and I sat down at our craft table to create our masterpieces. Tom, the artist, began mixing small balls to create a color wheel. I chose the neon pink dough and began kneading. The minutes passed, Tom finished his project and I was still kneading the dough. Putting the relaxation therapy of kneading aside I contemplated my artistic project, a whimsical look at history.

     To experience an art form whose origins are shrouded in the mists of time, pick up a container of modeling clay at your local store.

     What did I create? Watch the video to discover my version of Stonehenge.

     Cindy Sue Blair is an internationally syndicated columnist. Her articles appear in publications throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
©
Cindy Sue Blair 2009

Click Play to watch the video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   


        

 

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