TAW – Artist Dates

TAW is short for The Artist’s Way, and the picture here is one I took on my artist date to Reid Park. I’ve been moving along through the course, and have now done four official artists dates with another mini date thrown in. I was planning on going to the zoo last week, but got derailed when I got sick.

The other dates? The first involved going to Target for stickers, crayons and other fun stuff in the arts and crafts area… Julia Cameron’s contention is the our artist is a child and we should attempt to do things that the child in us would like. She suggested the sticker outing. I also found some cool scallop edged chipboard books that I’m going to use for a project recording my different dates — for 99 cents!  What was fun was going to the store for silly things, not really knowing what I was after, just going and looking for fun stuff and then buying it.

That element of frivolity and no direct goals seems to be what’s most fun for me at this point. My second date was the one I already wrote about to Reid Park. The third was making shell cookies.  That one turned out to be a disaster.

Awhile back I came across a blog post of Lisa Spangler, one of the Hero Artists, about these cloud cookies she’d received from a friend – butter cookies cut in the shape of clouds with their bottom edges drizzled with chocolate.  She did a fun little video of eating them. I thought they were really cool and immediately wanted to make some. The cloud cookie cutters were sold at a website called Herriott Grace, where the man uses salvaged wood to make various objects for cooking, like spoons, bowls, plates, cake flags, etc. And also the handle for the cloud cookie cutter, the tin portion of which was made for him by a tinsmith. Anyway, they were all out of cloud cookie cutters when I looked, so I put in my email to be notified. The cutters were, ahem, $15 each. Pricey, but they were so fun and I was lusting.

A few months later I got the alert that they had some cookie cutters so I hurried to the website, clicking on the “buy it now” button only to discover that for some reason I couldn’t. After awhile I noticed a message that the cookie cutter had been purchased by someone else and there weren’t any more. Bummer! 

Then I went back to the original page and the cutter was still for sale. So I clicked on “buy it” again and this time… I could. Hmm. So I went on through the process and finally we got to the point where they added the shipping and handling. $15!  So the cookie cutter cost $15 and the shipping and handling cost $15 (the store was in Canada) and that made something like $32 for a cookie cutter the size of one’s hand. Well, the cookies were cool, but not THAT cool. So I backed out… and suddenly realized that’s probably what happened to the person who’d come before me.

I decided to see if I could find some cloud cookie cutters locally and went to Ace Hardware where they have lots of tin cookie cutters. No cloud cutters. But they did have a shell. And really, I love clouds but shells are cool, too. So… I bought a shell cookie cutter. For 69 cents.  LOL

Anyway, after all that I decided that it would be fun to make an artist date out of making those cookies. Well, things happened that day and instead of being able to use the afternoon — as I’d expected when I took out the butter in the morning to soften it — I had to quickly mix the dough around 4pm. Then it didn’t work right — way too dry and crumbly, impossible to “pat into a disk” – and I discovered that I’d misread the recipe and instead of 3/4 cup I was supposed to have used 3/4 pound. So I took more butter out, softened it in the microwave, mixed it into the dough, but it was still weird. Hoping the next step of chilling it would do the trick, I patted (with the help of plastic wrap to keep it together)  it into a disk and went to walk Quigley and then do Bible class.

So it was sometime after seven when I got back to it. I couldn’t put it off because the next day I was going to have to get up at 5:30 to take my mother to the hospital to get her portacath.  So I just had to get it done. Well, chilling the dough did not help. When I tried rolling it out, it just crumbled, so I had to break it up and add milk, flour was everywhere, Quigley kept trying to eat the dough bits that had fallen on the floor. I was NOT having fun!  :-(  But I got them baked, and then it was time to do the chocolate. That went no better than the other part. I finished them at 10 pm, completely wiped out, so tired I wasn’t even interested in trying one of the cookies. They did turn out to be pretty good. 

So that date was a disaster. In retrospect I realized I should have just abandoned the whole idea of trying to get them baked that day when things first went off from my plan and instead, should’ve put The Scarlet Pimpernell into the DVD player and done the movie date instead.  It was a great learning experience, though, as to how one can make something that is supposed to be fun into not-fun. The time pressure I think, is the biggest thing. When you have to get it done, even though you’re tired and no longer want to do it, it is no longer fun. Funny because the whole point of the dates is NOT to be in that kind of situation.

Thus my next date, a week later, was to go to Starbucks with my journal, eat a pumpkin scone, drink a latte and write in my journal. Afterward I wandered over to Office Depot to use my rewards card, no special anything in mind, and yet I found all sorts of things I needed, or just wanted and used the whole amount on the card.  It was like discovering treasure while you’re out for a walk. That one was like the Reid Park date where I came home light hearted and happy. Excited that I’d used the reward for things I needed, and had such fun doing it. I even bought a pad of post it notes, which I do not need, with a picture of a yellow lab puppy sitting on a chair. I have tons of plain post-its in my office. I bought the puppy because he was cute and made me smile and felt like a “kind thing” to do for myself. Which is what The Artist’s Way encourages. Do you your morning pages and one kind thing for yourself a day.

 He still makes me smile.

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