My Gammill

October 22, 2014

Creative People

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.03.54 AM
(The pictures are added by me, from yahoo or google images or from my own pictures.)
(To read the full article, written by Carolyn Gregoire, click 
here.)
Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.
Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional).
In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.
And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.
“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self”, Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self. Imaginative people have messier minds.”
While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people.
Here are 18 things they do differently.
1) They daydream.
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Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time. Mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation”- and, of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere. Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highlyengaged brain state. Daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
2) They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster. They see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”
3) They work the hours that work for them.
Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.
4) They take time for solitude.
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“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming. We need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander. ”You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”
5) They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak, and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. ”A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”
6) They seek out new experiences.
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Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind- and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output. ”Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman.
7) They “fail up.”
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Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally. ”Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.
8) They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious. They generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know “why?” and “how?”.
9) They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch, and they may generate some of their best ideas from it. ”[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important. They’re keen observers of human nature.”
10) They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives. ”There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” Steve Kotler wrote in Forbes. ”Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent- these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”
11) They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life. ”Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”
12) They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated- meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.
13) They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work. ”Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind. I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”
14) They lose track of time.
Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance. You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you- as any good creative project does. ”Creative people have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”
15) They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty. A study recently published in The Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts showed that musicians -including music teachers and soloists- exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.
16) They connect the dots.
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If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s vision. In other words, they have the ability to see possibilities where other don’t. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect. In the words of Steve Jobs: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
17) They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane. ”Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience,” says Kaufman.
18) They make time for mindfulness.
Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind, because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that mindfulness can boost your brain power in a number of ways, as certain meditation techniques really can promote creative thinking. Mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity- all of which can lead to better creative thought.
(To read the full article, written by Carolyn Gregoire, click here.)

October 18, 2014

What I'm working on next...


I have developed a crazy craving for Houndstooth! I just ordered 2 Houndstooth wing back chairs for my livingroom and a Houndstooth rug for my quilting studio. Of course, when I found this Houndstooth Quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, I have to make it!



Lazboy Charlotte Recliner
My New Chairs!


I just love the look of the coat and the shoes,
but I don't own them.
I think that I will start looking for some cool
Houndstooth clothing, though.

Don't you just love them?

December 18, 2013

2 More Customer's Quilts

I just finished quilting, packaging and mailing 2 customer's quilts. Thank you, Kay and Ingrid for asking me to quilt for you. It was a pleasure!

The first one is Kay's quilt, made for her husband for Christmas. It is made from Hawaiian print fabrics with a tan linen-look fabric for the sashings and binding, and a navy linen-look fabric for the borders. It is quilted in a pantograph called Wandering Leaves, to echo the leaves in the fabric.


It turned out so perfect! A great quilt and a great gift for a man!


The second quilt is made by Ingrid for her daughter. It is made from brights and white, with Ingrid's daughter's name pieced on the back. It is such a happy, bright quilt!

It is quilted with a pantograph called Daisies Galore, which echos the flowers in the fabric and seems so appropriate since there are butterflies in the fabric, too. What goes better than daisies and butterflies?


November 25, 2013

MY 100 Things List

I think that I need to see where I stand with this 100 Things List. My YES! answers are in RED. My NO! answers are in Blue.

100 Things Every Quilter
Should Do Before She Dies
1. Visit a quilt shop. Oh, Yeah! At least a Million!
2. Make a Nine Patch. Yes
3. Make a Log Cabin. Yes
4. Label a quilt. Yep, with machine quilting and pictures
5. Figure yardage for a quilt. Seems like every day! Well, every other day.
6. Learn about warp and weft. Yes, thanks Mom.
7. Use a rotary cutter. Of course!
8. Use templates. Yes, in piecing and longarm quilting.
9. Paper piece a quilt block. Sure thing!
10. Hand applique a quilt block. Yes, but I'm not very good at it. But, I'm learning.
11. Make a yo-yo. We made a family king-size Yo-Yo quilt.
12. Embellish a quilt. Do buttons count?
13. Try free motion quilting. I quilted a baby quilt and a twin quilt. Exhausting!
14. Stitch in the ditch. On the sewing machine and on the longarm.
15. Try hand quilting. I was taught and worked on one block. It was sooo slow!
16. Bind a quilt. Of course! I'm very slow at it. 
17. Miter the corners of quilt binding. Yes, not a problem!
18. Join the ends of quilt binding. Yes, there are several different ways. I'm still deciding my favorite.
19. Sew diagonal seams. I'm assuming that Half Square Triangles count. Yes.
20. Use a walking foot. How else do you do the free motion quilting?
21. Attend a guild meeting. Yes, I've was even on the board for 2 years.
22. Visit Houston for International Quilt Festival. Oh, yeah! One of the perks of living near Houston.
23. Have a quilt appraised. 
24. Visit a quilt museum. Yes, a small one. I want to go to the Texas Quilt Museum.
25. Go on a quilt retreat. Yes, 6 so far.
26. Try curved piecing. I love curved piecing! I've made 4 Montana Cartwheel! And, 2 Drunkard's Path Quilts.
27. Miter the borders. Yes, Mom helped me. Thanks, Mom!
28. Learn to do blanket stitch by hand. Done this a long time ago. Now I do machine blanket stitch.
29. See a local quilt show. Yes, of course!
30. Put your quilt in a local quilt show. Yes, 2 of them.
31. Sell raffle tickets on a quilt. Sure thing.
32. Take a road trip with quilt friends. Well, of course! Who hasn't?
33. Create a Pinterest board with quilt images. I have 3 of them!
34. Make a 3-D quilt block. Yes, but I had to tack the edges down when it was longarm quilted. I couldn't stand them up, you know.
35. Donate a quilt to a good cause. Yes, a military hospital, a battered women's shelter, hospice, breast cancer awareness.
36. Make a sampler quilt. Yes, several. One has been in the making for 10 years!
37. Make an art quilt. In my opinion, yes, but not made a pictorial art quilt. I want to take a class from Janet Fogg in Portland, OR. She does amazing work!
38. Try bobbin work. What is this? Quilting on the sewing machine where the thread is the featured element? I've done that, if that is what bobbin work means.
39. Learn to maintain your sewing machine. Yes, my longarm and my Featherweight.
40. Add rickrack to a quilt. I don't like rickrack, so it may be a while before I get this one done.
41. Design a quilt. (Remember, you don’t necessarily have to make the quilt.) Yes, on EQ??.
42. Change/tweak/alter a pattern to make it your own. Of course, how can you make a quilt without changes?
43. Make a color wheel with fabric swatches. Not a color WHEEL, but a color LIST... for 2 quilts.
44. Chat about quilting with a stranger. Yes, almost DAILY!
45. Talk about quilting with your family. Yes, I've gotten most of the quilting now!
46. Give a quilt as a wedding/graduation/retirement gift. Yes, 3 wedding quilts.
47. Visit Paducah during the AQS Show.
48. Take a class with a nationally known teacher. Yes, Jo Morton, Laura Lee Fritz and Jaime Wallen at the Houston Quilt Festival. 
49. Use some fabric you dislike. Yes, it's hard but I've done it for someone that wanted it.
50. Participate in Show and Tell. Yes, but I can't stand Show and Tell. Sorry.
51. Volunteer for a job in a quilt group. Yes, 2 years doing the newsletter.
52. Use a color you detest. Yes, that would be pink. But, I learned to like pink in quilts!
53. Make a quilt inspired by nature. Yes, my bargello quilt... fall leaves.
54. Get up early or stay up late to quilt. OH, YEAH! That is normal for a quilt retreat!
55. Make a scrap quilt. Yes, I love scrap quilts!
56. Make a tote bag. Yes, several.
57. Make a postcard quilt. I have the interfacing and the book to try one.
58. Make a baby quilt and gift it to a newborn. Yes, grandchildren.
59. Understand the basics of caring for quilts. Yes.
60. Borrow a quilting book from the public library. Yes, from the quilt guild.
61. Teach someone else to quilt. Yes, family and I helped teach a class or two.
62. Creatively piece a backing for one of your quilts. I love to do pieced backings.
63. Apply a piped binding, or some variation of it. Yes, they are fun!
64. Post quilt pics to Facebook. I like to use a quilt as my picture.
65. Install quilty wallpaper on your computer. Hey, I thought that I was so clever to do that!
66. Put a quilty bumper sticker on your car. That's never going to happen because I can't stand bumper stickers.
67. Cuss mildly when you realize you've been sewing air (because you ran out of bobbin thread). Yes, Mildly???
68. Read your sewing machine manual cover to cover. Yes, I did for the featherweight and the longarm.
69. Learn to thread baste. Sure.
70. Learn to pin baste. Yes.
71. Use basting spray. Yes.
72. Help a friend make a quilt. Yes, I have, several times.
73. Make a quilt for a special child. Yes, how special? Do grandchildren count?
74. Make a quilt for a spouse or partner. Yes, but I should make another one for him now.
75. Make a quilt for a friend. Yes, she cried when I gave it to her.
76. Include your quilts in your last will and testament. No, Not yet!
77. Determine your favorite thread for piecing. Yes, tan or gray. Precencia thread!
78. Understand the concept of value. Yes, but I'm not perfect at it.
79. Understand the mathematics of quilt blocks. Yes, kind of. I just ask Mom to tell me how to change the size!
80. Apply a bias binding. 
81. Take a guild speaker to dinner. Yes! My friend, Jeanne.
82. Comment on a quilt-related blog post. Sure, all the time.
83. Make a mystery quilt. Yes, several. It's hard to let go of making the design choices.
84. Take part in a block exchange. Yes, but I worried that I wasn't perfect enough.
85. Write how-to instructions for making a quilt block. Yes, too often the patterns we buy aren't right.
86. Be able to state clearly what you learned from a particular quilt. Of course!
87. Know the difference between lengthwise and crosswise grain. Yes.
88. Know the parts of a sewing machine needle and why they matter. Yes, mostly for the longarm.
89. Organize your stash. Yes, over and over and over again.
90. Know the names of hand sewing needles used for different tasks. I don't do hand sewing.
91. Finish a UFO. Yes, how many to count this?
92. Purchase fabric on impulse. Oh, brother! All of the time!
93. Try sewing with precuts. Sure, they are good sometimes. 
94. Trade fabrics with quilt friends. Yes, plaid fabrics! Oh, yeah!
95. Identify your ancestors who quilted. Yes, my great-grandmother, Flora Belle Riley Johnson.
96. Visit a quilt shop while on vacation. Of course! Duh!
97. Sew on a treadle for old time's sake.
98. Subscribe to a quilting magazine. Yes, in the past. I don't anymore because I find them boring.
99. Become a regular reader of a quilting blog. Yes.
100. Go on a Shop Hop. Yes, but I don't like them. It's good to learn where the quilt shops are, though.

I'm doing pretty well! I have done most of them. A few I will probably never do. But, YEAH ME!

100 Things Every Quilter Should Do Before She Dies



100 Things Every Quilter
Should Do Before She Dies
1. Visit a quilt shop.
2. Make a Nine Patch.
3. Make a Log Cabin.
4. Label a quilt.
5. Figure yardage for a quilt.
6. Learn about warp and weft.
7. Use a rotary cutter.
8. Use templates.
9. Paper piece a quilt block.
10. Hand applique a quilt block.
11. Make a yo-yo.
12. Embellish a quilt.
13. Try free motion quilting.
14. Stitch in the ditch.
15. Try hand quilting.
16. Bind a quilt.
17. Miter the corners of quilt binding.
18. Join the ends of quilt binding.
19. Sew diagonal seams.
20. Use a walking foot.
21. Attend a guild meeting.
22. Visit Houston for International Quilt Festival.
23. Have a quilt appraised.
24. Visit a quilt museum.
25. Go on a quilt retreat.
26. Try curved piecing.
27. Miter the borders.
28. Learn to do blanket stitch by hand.
29. See a local quilt show.
30. Put your quilt in a local quilt show.
31. Sell raffle tickets on a quilt.
32. Take a road trip with quilt friends.
33. Create a Pinterest board with quilt images.
34. Make a 3-D quilt block.
35. Donate a quilt to a good cause.
36. Make a sampler quilt.
37. Make an art quilt.
38. Try bobbin work.
39. Learn to maintain your sewing machine.
40. Add rickrack to a quilt.
41. Design a quilt. (Remember, you don’t necessarily have to make the quilt.)
42. Change/tweak/alter a pattern to make it your own.
43. Make a color wheel with fabric swatches.
44. Chat about quilting with a stranger.
45. Talk about quilting with your family.
46. Give a quilt as a wedding/graduation/retirement gift.
47. Visit Paducah during the AQS Show.
48. Take a class with a nationally known teacher.
49. Use some fabric you dislike.
50. Participate in Show & Tell.
51. Volunteer for a job in a quilt group.
52. Use a color you detest.
53. Make a quilt inspired by nature.
54. Get up early or stay up late to quilt.
55. Make a scrap quilt.
56. Make a tote bag.
57. Make a postcard quilt.
58. Make a baby quilt and gift it to a newborn.
59. Understand the basics of caring for quilts.
60. Borrow a quilting book from the public library.
61. Teach someone else to quilt.
62. Creatively piece a backing for one of your quilts.
63. Apply a piped binding, or some variation of it.
64. Post quilt pics to Facebook.
65. Install quilty wallpaper on your computer.
66. Put a quilty bumper sticker on your car.
67. Cuss mildly when you realize you've been sewing air (because you ran out of bobbin thread).
68. Read your sewing machine manual cover to cover.
69. Learn to thread baste.
70. Learn to pin baste.
71. Use basting spray.
72. Help a friend make a quilt.
73. Make a quilt for a special child.
74. Make a quilt for a spouse or partner.
75. Make a quilt for a friend.
76. Include your quilts in your last will and testament.
77. Determine your favorite thread for piecing.
78. Understand the concept of value.
79. Understand the mathematics of quilt blocks.
80. Apply a bias binding.
81. Take a guild speaker to dinner.
82. Comment on a quilt-related blog post.
83. Make a mystery quilt.
84. Take part in a block exchange.
85. Write how-to instructions for making a quilt block.
86. Be able to state clearly what you learned from a particular quilt.
87. Know the difference between lengthwise and crosswise grain.
88. Know the parts of a sewing machine needle and why they matter.
89. Organize your stash.
90. Know the names of hand sewing needles used for different tasks.
91. Finish a UFO.
92. Purchase fabric on impulse.
93. Try sewing with precuts.
94. Trade fabrics with quilt friends.
95. Identify your ancestors who quilted.
96. Visit a quilt shop while on vacation.
97. Sew on a treadle for old time's sake.
98. Subscribe to a quilting magazine.
99. Become a regular reader of a quilting blog.
100. Go on a Shop Hop.