That’s the mascot of Webster University where I just started to work on a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Advertising Communications. I had to look up what a Gorlok is – it’s a Cheetah/Buffalo/St. Bernard mix made up in the 1980s inspired by the intersection of Gore and Lockwood streets. I got the above coloring page in my welcome packet. It’s good to see adult coloring is still really popular! It always will be popular with me I think. However disloyal I’m afraid my favorite mascot will always be the University of American Samoa Land Crabs!
I’m going to be writing a lot of papers, so look for them to appear on this blog if they turn out well. I write all the time so thinking of something to write about does not scare me but it’s literally been decades since I tried to write in an academic style so that will be a bit of an adjustment. My first few papers will likely be dealing with some aspect of marketing theory. That might sound kind of dull at first but after giving it some thought, people and institutions make important decisions based on marketing theory all the time. In our culture we’ve been living with mass media for the entirety of our own lifetimes and so have multiple generations of our predecessors. Because of the type of work I’ve chosen to do, it’s obvious I think media is interesting, important, and influential. If I can learn and share some things about how to better understand this complicated culture we’ve created, I think that is worthwhile. I have to decide by tomorrow morning what the topic of my first paper is going to be. Some topics I’m kicking around in my head are:
How do people perceive the influence of media on their lives?
How important is media in decision making in certain groups of people?
Do people in our culture feel the need to protect themselves from the media?
Does the media manipulate or emotionally abuse us? If so, are people aware of it?
Does the media affect mental health?
How do people use media to achieve their goals or add meaning to their lives?
Do people see themselves as active or passive media consumers?
What factors make a person an active or passive media consumer?
How do people determine what media is trustworthy?
How do people take control of media in their lives?
What makes certain forms of media fall in and out of favor?
How do people think media affects other people?
Do people have different perceptions of how the news media should conduct itself depending on political affiliation?
Do social scientists follow different theories of mass communications depending on political affiliation?
Do people in the United States feel that the mass media supports democracy?
Do people in the United States feel that the mass media should support democracy?
As you can see I won’t have any trouble thinking of something interesting to explore. What I will have trouble with is making it fit into a three page paper!
Although I am out of practice in academic writing, I’m not out of practice in being a student. It’s been 26 years since I’ve received my B.F.A. degree but in the meantime I’ve taken numerous Continuing Ed classes and worked in jobs that required constant learning of new material. When I studied for my Master Gardener certification in 2016, that sharpened my mind quite a bit because I had to get used to studying for tests again. Tips we were given in class about helpful technology made that pursuit easier than it used to be. Being tech and media savvy are big help when you’re a returning student as well as in life in general. When I graduated from St. Louis Community College with my A.A. degree, I was the commencement speaker. I haven’t re-read my speech since I gave it because I don’t remember it as being very good and I don’t want to cringe! Some of my writing from that time I still like but I don’t know about that one! My overall theme however, to encourage lifelong learning and to not stop after you graduate, was something I was passionate about and at least following my own advice in that instance has served me well. I’m still passionate about it and that is why I love to learn and to teach.
I just left this letter on a neighbor’s door handle:
“August 27, 2019,
Hi, I’m your near neighbor at (address) – the house where the red Jeep is parked a lot. I’m sorry to bother you but I inadvertently caused a weird problem. I saw the landscaping company that does your lawn working at your house this morning. I have an urgent need for mulch, and grass clippings are perfect for my needs. I asked the workers at your house to fill a few containers with grass clippings for me if they were going to dispose of them and leave the containers there and I would just walk across the street and pick them up. I’ve worked as a landscaper so I know most of the time they just put the grass clippings in a big dumpster that goes to the yard waste facility to be processed. I gave them a small tip for their trouble. What I didn’t know is that they didn’t understand that I wanted them to leave the containers out in front of your house for me to pick up when they were done. They brought the containers back to their shop. It’s not their fault – I should have anticipated this and made a note of what company they work for – but I did not do that. Can you please give me an email or a phone call to let me know what company they work for so I can call them and get my containers back? I thought this would be a simple request that would not cause anyone any hassle but I misjudged. I would have given them a lot bigger tip if I expected them to fill the containers at their shop, I just wanted the sweepings since they had to do cleanup anyway!!!
On Saturday, August 24, 2019 Tom and I participated in Operation Clean Stream sponsored by the Open Space Council and many other supporting organizations. I’ve done several of these trash cleanup floats before but this was Tom’s first time. We had a blast because we love to get dirty, we want to do our part to keep our rivers clean and any excuse to get out and be on the water is a good one! We brought our kayaks to the beach on the Meramec River and met up with other volunteers who brought their own vessels. The people I end up floating with on these cleanup days are terrific and we hope we get to float with these folks again. I floated with leader Tim before in 2016 – here is an article I wrote about that day: Fit and Healthy on Route 66: Two Sections of the Lower Meramec – Part I
I found some water hyacinth along the way and picked up as much as I could. I want to use it in our pond which should be finished soon, but even more importantly I want to get it out of the natural body of water because it’s an invasive species. More info about water hyacinth here: http://stopaquatichitchhikers.org/hitchhikers/plants-water-hyacinth/
This is the first time I can recall seeing water hyacinth in a natural body of water in Missouri. Our winters should kill it – that may or may not mitigate the threat – I don’t know. What if some floats downstream to a warmer state? That’s why I grabbed as much as I could. Here is some Missouri specific information: https://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2008/01/not-state
In this project you can practice your skills in fabric painting, fabric coloring and applique. I had a lot of fun with my stashes of fabric, trim, buttons and threads to create different blends of colors and textures. I used blank burlap bags and fabric remnants to make festive and reusable containers for small holiday gifts of different kinds. I wrote this last year and it didn’t get published by Canvas Corp at that time because they got sold to another company and disbanded their Creative Crew that I was on. It might seem a little early for Christmas projects but if you make your Christmas gifts it’s really not unreasonable to start working on them now. Also you can use the same techniques with different themes to fit the season. I had a ton of fun making these. Enjoy!
Printed canvas sheets
Burlap wine sacks
Burlap shoulder bags
Assorted burlap, trim and other fabric remnants
Gold fabric paint
Assorted sewing and embroidery thread including gold metallic
Clean scrap paper
Small paint brush
Sewing and embroidery needles
Iron and ironing board
Select images from printed canvas sheets by Canvas Corp and cut around them with fabric scissors. Tape an assortment of cutouts to a piece of scrap chipboard or cardboard. Outline the images with gold fabric paint. Let dry, and heat set the paint with an iron if necessary. Place the fabric pieces between two pieces of clean scrap paper to protect the iron and ironing board from paint and ink.
Color the images with fabric markers, and heat set if necessary. The particular fabric markers I used did not require heat setting.
Lay out the burlap blanks that you are going to use on a work surface. For my samples I used Canvas Corp wine bag and tote bag blanks. I also had some remnants of burlap that I decided to cut into rectangles to make into little Christmas themed door hangers with pockets that could be used as ornaments or to hold object such as greenery or small gifts. These burlap remnants had a very loose weave so I backed them with green fabric pieces. Match up your decorated printed canvas cutouts with a burlap bag or piece and go through your fabric and trim stash to find scraps that look good layered behind the printed canvas pieces. Pin the trim and fabric remnants together with the printed canvas pieces on top. You might want to leave some fabric edges raw or hem them for slightly different looks. You can explore a lot of design options by working on several pieces at a time. Pin your printed canvas piece on top of the fabric and trim arrangements. Don’t pin the canvas/trim/fabric assemblies to the bags yet – some of the sewing will be easier to do before the assemblies are attached to the bags. Here are a couple of burlap wine bags with pinned assemblages ready to be sewn…
…plus a couple of burlap shoulder bag examples…
…and some rectangles that will become door hangers with the addition of a loop of braided trim for hanging.
Sew around each printed canvas cutout with gold embroidery thread. Secure the trim pieces with embroidery thread in a complementary color. If you want to, add a few buttons or other embellishments as accents. Once all the layers on your assemblage are sewn together, pin the assemblage to the front of your bag and sew in place. You are done!
While making items for my wedding last summer I used a lot of nautical themed papers made by Canvas Corp. I saved a lot of the paper scraps to use in one of my favorite card-making techniques. I like to glue paper scraps onto narrow strips of scrap cardstock then apply rubber stamping ink to the edges to unify the strips. They make interesting parts to use in all kinds of paper crafts. I’ve previously written other articles that show this technique in action.
Materials and Tools
Canvas Corp paper sheet Sand & Sea Art Pages on Kraft CCP2883
Assorted paper scraps with a nautical theme, mostly from collections by Canvas Corp
Black permanent rubber stamping ink
Permanent rubber stamping ink in colors that complement the project
Strips of light colored scrap paper that harmonize with the chosen paper scraps
Pieces of cardstock that harmonize with the chosen paper scraps
Clean scrap paper
Computer with scanner and graphics software
Eraser for stamping the edges of the paper
These very detailed strips tend to look good in designs next to areas with less detail. To make thank you cards to acknowledge wedding gifts and other help people generously gave us for the wedding, I made some scrap paper strips edged in red and scanned them for use in a digital file which I had printed on cardstock at a copy shop. I spelled out the word “THANKS” in nautical flags by making little flag collages with Canvas Corp nautical themed papers and scanning those as well. After digitally manipulating the scanned paper pieces, this is the digital card design I came up with.
The red-edged strips that I scanned were now free to use in actual handmade cards and not just the digital design. I decided to combine the strips with imagery from the Canvas Corp paper sheet Sand & Sea Art Pages on Kraft CCP2883. The six images on the paper sheet are just about the size of the cards I want to make and the subtlety of the designs will really set off my paper strips. I decided to make six 5.25″ x 4.25″ cards. I selected six pieces of cardstock and cut them to 5.25″ wide and 8.5″ long then folded them in half to make the cards. Next I selected strips of light colored paper in colors that harmonized with my color scheme and stamped the sentiments “just a note” and “thank you” with black permanent ink. I made more strips than I thought I would need so that I would have lots of options. Also, I can use the extras for making other cards and for the card making classes that I teach.
To begin assembling the front of the cards, I cut each of the six images on the sheet Sand & Sea Art Pages on Kraft to just a little bigger than the card front. I cut the image in two then I inserted a strip with the words “just a note” then a scrap strip edged in red between the two pieces of the image. I glued the parts to the front of the card with a glue stick then trimmed away the excess. Then I glued the circular paper punched out piece with the stamped words “Thank You” onto the front of the card.