The Abandoned Art Movement

PrintAlthough Michael and Andrea deMeng started the Art Abandonment movement in June of 2012, publicly leaving art for others is not a new concept. Several decades ago there was a movement called “Guerilla Art, ” which inspired the deMengs’ art abandonment movement.

History of “Guerrilla” Art

Guerrilla art–or street art–originated in the 1980s.

It consisted of graffiti, street sculpture, murals, wall mosaics, and various other forms of artistic expression. Artists would create the art pieces and leave them in public spaces for others to enjoy.
The reasons for street art varied. Often the artists wanted to make a political statement. Sometimes they wanted to get their work out into the world, and bypass the constraints subjected to them by the rules of the formal art world. At other times, they wanted “ordinary” people to have access to art that they normally would never have the chance to encounter. Finally, sometimes they did it just for the fun of it!

Want to Participate in the Art Abandonment Movement?

If you are interested in becoming part of this movement, you will find that there are just a few rules to follow.  To join in, Michael deMeng makes these simple suggestions. All you have to do is the following:

  1. Make a small piece of art.
  2. Put a tag on it stating that you are leaving the art as a free gift to whoever finds it. Make sure to include your desired contact information.
  3. Discreetly leave the art in a public space.
  4. Take a picture of the space you are leaving it in.
  5. Hope that the person who finds the gift responds either by email or replies on the Art Abandonment Facebook page.

This is Me Today – Making Myself Crazy

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Being a perfectionist is a vicious circle of events. Nothing is ever good enough. So we (or I) end up keeping endless stuff because I feel I have to finish it, get it right before I can let it go. I feel obligated to the stuff and myself. I’m letting myself down if I don’t do everything and do it right. I can’t just let things go so they pile up.

Ironically, the piles of actual stuff make me feel pressured and I can’t deal with all of it.

On top of that, no woman is an island. I get request from others who want me to do things for them. They even have deadlines and complain when stuff isn’t done, for them. Then I get annoyed because they expect me to just drop everything and put them first.

The joke is on me. I’m getting so little actually done that things are piling up (of course). In the end – I am the one on the bottom of the pile under all this stuff.

So, the plan is to wait until sometime in November when I will have the house (most of it) to myself and I can move things out of my work room and into other rooms. This will give me some space and maybe clear my mind a bit. If I feel I have some space to work in maybe I can actually get to work and get some of this stuff done.

Of course, we come back to the perfectionism issue.  Is making the space enough? Can I let things be imperfect? Can I decide to just get rid of some things, undone, not completed? Can I give up on some of the things which I thought mattered so much? That will be the hard part. It isn’t the stuff or the lack of space so much as feeling I am losing parts of myself and who I think I am and should be.

If I get rid of everything which makes me feel like I’m someone, what will be left of me? Once I am clutter free how will I know what to do with myself?

Duck Fat Dinner Rolls for Thanksgiving

Duck Fat Dinner Rolls
Adapted from Donald Link’s Real Cajun, by way of Amateur Gourmet

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup shortening or lard
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water

1 egg, lightly beaten
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

In a small bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to combine the shortening, sugar, salt, and boiling water. Allow this mixture to cool for a few minutes. (Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 2 minutes using the paddle attachment until combined, then cool.)

Use a fork to stir the beaten egg and yeast into the shortening mixture, then add 3 cups of the flour (add the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup as you knead). When the mixture pulls together into a dough and you can no longer stir it with a fork, use your hands.
Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough until it has a smooth sheen and doesn’t fall apart; 5 to 10 minutes. Try not too add too much flour here.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 30-40 minutes, until it has increased 25%. Punch it down, knead it briefly (up to 1 minute).
Roll the dough into 2-inch balls (there should be enough dough for about 16 rolls), and space evenly on a butter baking sheet.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 325F.

Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Brush with copious amounts of melted butter. Eat hot.

via Duck fat dinner rolls | heartful mouthful.

Halfway through the recipe to make these for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Could have doubled it but I’m just too tired (and the kitchen is over warm for the bread making – too warm for me) and don’t have the energy for all that more kneading. Will see how they turn out. The duck fat was interesting to work with. Right now they are having the first rising time and I am starting the cheesecake recipe.

How to be a Better Hoarder

It starts out small. You don’t suspect at all. One day you just have a bit more stuff than space, more stuff than time or energy. So you make a pile of it. Maybe on the seat of a chair, a stack on a shelf, a junk drawer in the kitchen or a few things tossed on your bed while you tidy up the rest of the room.

Hoarding comes along easy.

That pile of stuff on the chair doesn’t get dealt with and next time you want to use the chair the stuff is in the way. A minor annoyance so you stash it somewhere else. A temporary fix, right?

Sometimes you may get caught up and avoid the start of a hoard. Usually you don’t. I don’t. I have a stash of unfinished work on nearly every surface available in my bedroom, most of the floor space is taken up with bags of stuff to do.

The rest of the house is tidy. Right now. I don’t live alone half the year. But, that’s part of the problem too. She is a clutter freak. Anything left out bothers her. I like having my coffee pot and the coffee grinder out on the kitchen counter. Why not, I use them every day at least once. I clean up any spilled coffee grounds or drips from the pot. There is no mess, just two pieces of kitchen gadgets out in open space. It took time but I’m now allowed to have them out.

Anything else I want to keep much be stashed away. This means adding it to the other stashes, stacks and piles of stuff in my bedroom. Stuff gets lost in there. It is a jungle or piles and stacks and stashes of assorted stuff I need or at least don’t want to have taken, thrown out or lost.

Ironic that I keep things here to avoid losing them when I’ve long gotten past the point of being able to keep track and find much any more.

Hoarding happens when you need to hold on to things and run out of better options, or space.

Don’t think this is taking the easy way out. Living this way is frustrating, for me more than anyone else. They may think whatever they like and they believe the problem is me. It is and yet it isn’t just me.

A lot of the stuff here are things other people want me to do for them. Tasks and jobs and demands I have not found time or energy to do. Do you know the old joke about a round tuit? Look that one up and if you ever do find that legendary round tuit please send it to me when you’re done tuiting.

I need to say no but that isn’t so simple. I won’t get into all of that. It’s an exercise in frustration to explain my need to be perfect and fix everything, do too much and prove myself to anyone who isn’t inside my own head. So, just know that it is very hard for me to say no to family and friends who ask for simple, small favours. I add their photos, their lists and assorted other things to my hoard of to-do.

I don’t think anyone outside of hoarders can understand the pressure of having too much stuff around them. It weighs on you, it pushes against you and it limits you mentally, emotionally and physically too. I hate having just a small path trough my bedroom from the door to the bed with the computer desk being along that same path. I can’t put my clean clothes away because I can’t reach the closet. I can’t start tidying up because I no longer know where to begin. It’s all a chain. One thing leads to another and another. To pull one string means pulling another and finding a place to put the first string before I can pull the next string. But, there is no more room to put anything.

In frustration I toss a pile of papers and old photos onto another stack of papers piled up on the floor. Another task demanded and no time or energy to do it. Another weight added to the pressure. Another layer added to the stuff I already can’t deal with! It lands atop the other stuff and I’m angry because this was demanded of me and I know I can’t do more and this is just more of more.

People think a hoarder is an awful thing: dirty, miserable, derelict. I’m not any of those things. Not ever miserable. I live my life around this hoard and I try to function in spite of it all. I can’t let go and give up the things in this hoard which I actually value. I can’t give up on the things I said I would do, even the things I never actually agreed to do. I feel pressure and guilt and anger.

A simple solution is to deal with some small part of it each day.

Seems simple enough. Until you start somewhere and get caught up in one thing for too long. One thing leads to another problem when you don’t have enough space to work in. Too many things are buried and it is frustrating to know they are there but out of reach. To begin finding what I need causes the moving of the hoard which means the things which were on top (the things I could locate) will now be moved and become the things I can’t find.

Hoarding is a trap.

During half the year when I live here alone I take a few days and then begin moving things out of my space and into another spare room. I get some clearance, some room to move and work. At first the release of having space and feeling hope again is just nice in itself. I haven’t thrown anything away but I have space again. Having space makes me feel I have some control, and can actually do something about all of it.

I make some progress. The hard part is choosing where and what to start on. Last time I began with clothes. I sorted out a lot of clothes I haven’t worn in years and those which I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing now that I’m no longer 20-something. I had them all ready to go to the Salvation Army thrift store. I felt good thinking some other woman would be able to wear those clothes. But, I got caught up in road blocks.

I was stopped from giving away the clothes because other people thought I shouldn’t just give them away. You can’t just give away something that still has value! Some day you may fit into that again. That dress used to look so great on you.

Isn’t that funny? I thought I was the hoarder.

I originally wrote this for Medium but no one is reading it there so I have moved it here.

I Want a Bedroom Redesign

1189This has me thinking about moving my bed that way. Would I have more space or not? Hmmmm.

It’s complicated by the fact that my bedroom is also my home office and pretty much everything else except the kitchen and bathroom. Luckily the laundry isn’t in here too.

via – 27 Eye-Catching Traditional Bedroom Designs That Will Enhance Your Home Design | Daily source for inspiration and fresh ideas on Architecture, Art and Design.

Regifting: Reuse, Reduce, Repurpose and Recycle for Christmas

Why Should you Regift?

There are good reasons to be a regifter.

First, if you know you won’t use it, can’t wear it, don’t have room for it, then don’t stick it on a shelf, at the back of a closet or somewhere else it will be forgotten and just take up space. Pick someone who will really want it, can use it. This way you don’t have clutter and someone else gets a gift they can use.

Second, it saves you money and time. Instead of buying more gifts or spending time making gifts (which can end up costing more than buying a gift) you can regift something you already have.

Third, it saves all those gifts from being added to the landfill. Not many gifts are made from 100% recyclable materials and most could be used by someone if you take the time to figure out just the right person.

The Five Golden Rules for Good Regifters

The item must be kept in brand new condition. You can’t have unpacked it to try it or use a little. If there is a guarantee or instructions they should be with the item. If you did open the packaging to take care in closing it up again. Dust it off, don’t regift an item that looks like it sat on a shelf for a year, or longer. If a book has an inscription you can’t regift it.

Wrap the item all over again with fresh paper, bows and whatever accessories and extras you usually use. Also, don’t mess up and leave the old gift card on or inside the gift. Some of the simplest things are the easiest to overlook.

Don’t regift the item to the same people who gave it to you. This is a reason for not hanging on to a gift for very long. You may forget who it came from. Also, you don’t want to send it to anyone the original sender knows, especially if it is easily identifiable, unique.

Never regift a handmade/ homemade gift. If it really is something you can’t use (wrong size, for example) find a gentle way to let the gifter know. Make sure they understand you value their work, their thoughtfulness and the time, energy and resources that went into the gift.

The gift should be desired and suit the person you are giving it to. If something really is unwanted by yourself or anyone else you can think of take it to the thrift store, or try selling it online. What you give to others is a reflection on yourself. Don’t regift something you know will be unwanted, just to get rid of it or save a buck. Consider age, gender, style, size, etc. when choosing who will get your regift.

National Regifting Day